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Sat, Apr 9, 2011 - 7:00 PM ET
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Now that the Washington Capitals have clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, they are looking to get healthier as the playoffs approach.

The Capitals will likely have high-scoring defenseman Mike Green back after a 19-game absence when they try to hand the Florida Panthers their 11th straight loss Saturday night.

Washington (48-22-11) earned the No. 1 seed in the East for the second straight season when Philadelphia lost 4-3 in overtime at Buffalo on Friday. The Capitals insist they only want to finish the season with their 24th road win, matching last season's franchise record.

"We want to go out and just play a solid game," center Jason Arnott said. "Get together and get our lines going. We don't want to go out and play lackadaisical. We wanna go out and play hard and finish the year out on a positive note."

Coach Bruce Boudreau did not confirm the status of Green, although he took part fully in Friday's practice. Green, who led all defensemen with a career-high 76 points last season, has been out since Feb. 25 with a head injury.

The Capitals will play division-rival Carolina or the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Washington has lost in the opening round twice in the previous three seasons, but believe it will be different this time.

"I just believe in them," Boudreau said. "If you believe in your players and you believe in their capabilities, anything can happen."

Washington is seeking a fifth straight win, and its power play has been sharp. The Capitals scored twice with the man advantage in Wednesday's 5-2 win over Florida (29-40-12), giving them five power-play goals in three games.

"It's not going to be easy to score on the PP in the playoffs," Arnott said. "Guys are really gonna to be bearing down, and really focusing on certain situations."

The conference-worst Panthers are 0-7-3 since a 4-0 victory over Toronto on March 17 for their longest slide since a 12-game skid Oct. 27-Nov. 23, 2005. Florida fell 4-2 at Tampa Bay on Friday.

"There is a lot to improve on, and our goal is to get better and better," said Mike Santorelli, who scored his career-high 20th goal.

The Panthers, however, have been very competitive in a season series that has featured three one-goal games. Washington is 3-1-1 after winning all six matchups in 2009-10.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists Wednesday while Brooks Laich added two assists. That gave Ovechkin a team-high seven points in the season series.

Florida center Stephen Weiss has a team-high 49 points - with a team-best seven against Washington. Weiss, however, will likely miss his fourth straight game with a groin injury.

Scott Clemmensen will probably be in goal for Florida since he has started five straight games as Tomas Vokoun is out with a back injury. Clemmensen is 0-4-1 with a 4.48 goals-against average in his last six starts against Washington.

Semyon Varlamov is 2-1-0 with a 2.33 GAA in three starts against Florida this season. Michal Neuvirth has started both games at the BankAtlantic Center, going 1-0-1 with a 2.92 GAA.

Tagged: Capitals, Panthers, Mike Green

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